Monday, January 23, 2012

Post 3: A Festival and a Little Culture Shock

Guggenheim Museum
I've survived a week of classes and am adapting more and more each day to the Spanish culture.  My schedule has a lot of breaks between classes.  I have breaks of up to 6 hours!  Instead of just going back to   my host mom, I travel the streets of Bilbao and all the city has to offer.  During these expeditions, lunch usually consists of bread or a pastry from one of the many bakeries that seem to be on every street in Spain.  The tummy ache in my stomach is not so subtly letting me know that I might want to reconsider my lunch choice.  Next week, I will explore the fruit markets and hopefully find them to be just as appetizing.

Last Friday, I went to the Guggenheim with my classmates.  I don't think any of the students who went would disagree with my opinion that the museum is much more impressive on the outside than on the inside.  While I'm happy I went, I would have felt disappointed if I had paid for it.  Luckily, I did not because I went with my university.  

La Tamborrada
After the museum, I made the spontaneous decision to just pick up and go on a bus to San Sebastian for La Tamborrada, a festival that consists of drum playing for 24 hours straight.  After getting over the initial shock of seeing all of the Spaniards drinking from bottles of wine while walking through the streets, we joined in on the fun.  Despite the rain that we endured for the entire day, we all had a great time.  I sat next to Spaniards both ways on the bus and therefore got a little extra Spanish practice.  The girl I sat next to on the way to San Sebastian was awesome, but the guy I sat next to on the way home was not my favorite.  He was 37 and kept on wanting me to meet him at his apartment or go to coffee with him.  He also did some other not so normal things that  put me on high alert.  I'm not looking to reenact the movie "Taken," despite promises from my friends in Champaign that they would come and rescue me.

My friend and I at the beach
On Sunday, I checked out another Bilbao beach with some friends.  Despite the overcast and chilly weather, it was a truly awesome day.  My friend and I took off our shoes and ran through the waves.  We looked like silly Americans, but it felt so liberating to run through the cool water while smelling the salt of the ocean.  After leaving the ocean soaking wet from the knees down, we grabbed a little snack and spent the rest of the day walking and enjoying each other's company.

I went to an informative event for international students today at my university here (la Universidad de Deusto).  After a presentation about the university's resources, we headed out into the courtyard for lunch.  There were different types of finger food to eat, but I was a little shocked by our drink options.  Our beverage choices were: white wine, red wine, and beer.  Please keep in mind that I had classes right after this event.  Needless to say, classes were very entertaining.

¡Hasta luego!  

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